ABOUT THE TRAINER
Hi! My name is Jaimee Wenzel and I am an Animal Behavioral College certified dog trainer and mentor, and a graduate of the Train The Trainers Program taught by Jeff Gellman, Sean, O’shea, and Tori Smith.
My Journey to dog training didn't start with a desire for a certain career. It began in 2008 when I adopted my first dog from a local animal shelter. I had grown up with dogs and animals in my life, but Huck was MY dog.
It was love at first sight for me and Huck. He was a 9 month old German Shepard Mix who was all wiggles and kisses, but had severe food aggression issues.
That didn't deter me one bit! I worked with Huck for several months in group obedience classes and at home.Overtime, Huck's food aggression dissipated. Even so, he was still independent and wild and unless I had a bag of treats, Huck was unwilling to perform any basic obedience commands. But it wasn't a big deal right? He was still just a puppy and he was generally a good dog, so what did it matter if he didn't always come when he was called? He came back eventually.
One day I took Huck for a nice long hike at a local state park. We had a great time. There was a special needs adult group there for the day and Huck sat and let this sweet man hug him and pet him. The man's care taker said we had made his day! Huck was a good boy.
When we got home, I went to let him out of the car but his leash was caught on the seat. So I unclipped his leash and he jumped out of the car.
Just then my neighbors came out and said hello. Huck saw any person as an opportunity for fun so he ran to greet them. I called for him to come, but I had run out of treats on our hike and the excitement of seeing his friends was a better reward than anything I could offer him. Huck ran into the street and as I went to run after him, he was stuck by a car and killed right in front of me.
To say that I was devastated would be a gross understatement. I was heartbroken and angry. I was filled with shame and regret. I felt betrayed by the dog training world. I was a good dog owner, he was a good dog, so why couldn't I get my dog to listen to me when it mattered most?
After all the training we had done, money I invested, time we put in, none of it had prepared me and Huck for the real life scenario that took his life.
After a little time had passed, I adopted another puppy, Lyla.
But after my experience working with Huck, I felt that there should be a better, more reliable way to communicate with my new canine companion. To help her understand what I wanted from her. To have her respond quickly and willingly. To keep her safe.
That's when I began a journey to have a better understanding of dog communication and behavior.
The more I learned, the more passionate I became. I was shocked that the information and experiences I was gaining was not common knowledge to most dog owners and the answers to the most basic dog behavior problems were not being taught in general obedience classes. I kept wondering "why did no one tell me this?" and "If only I had known this before".
I met dog owners with similar stories and problems that I had struggled with. I wanted to help them. I wanted to help their dogs. That's when my passion for helping people better understand and work with their dogs was born and I decided to become a certified dog trainer.
I went through my dog training certification program and began volunteering at a local municipal animal shelter. It was there that I learned that the majority of the dogs that are in shelters are there because of simple behavior problems that their previous family didn't know how to fix and didn't know how to handle. I knew then that if I could educate owners on how to fix their dog's problems at home in a way that worked for their family and their lifestyles, that their dog's would stay at home and wouldn't go to a shelter.
Since then, I have been working with families and their dogs to help correct their dogs' behavioral issues. Whether that be basic puppy potty training or rehabilitating aggression issues, helping families to work with their dogs to create a better quality of life for everyone is what I love to do.
I feel very blessed to be able to work with dogs everyday and very honored to help families achieve better communication between them and their dog.